A kind reader alerted me to a interesting set of responses from His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos to questions about Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum. The Q&A is, interestingly enough, posted on clerus.va, the website of the Congregation for Clergy. Under Card. Castrillon, Clergy developed their own web presence, apart from the Vatican’s efforts to stall the Church’s proper use of the internet. But I digress…
The tireless crew over at NLM has declared that they are working on a translation of the whole thing, but here is the first part, which is the most interesting. The original is in Italian:
Responses of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" to certain queries
From the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei" began to receive frequent questions about the reasons for the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, some of which were grounded in the prescriptions of the 3 October 1984 document Quattuor abhinc annos sent by the Congregation for Divine Worship to presidents of bishops conferences, the President of the same Commission, His Eminence Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos considered it opprtune to give the following responses:
QUESTION: Is it licit to make reference to the Letter Quattuor abhinc annos in order to regulate questions pertaining to the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, namely, according to the Roman Missal of 1962?
ANSWER: Obviously, no. Because with the publication of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum the prescriptions for the use of the 1962 Missal emanating from Quattuor abhinc annos, and successively from the Motu Proprio of the Servant of God John Paul II Ecclesia Dei adflicta, have lapsed.
In fact, the same Summorum Pontificum, beginning with article 1, explicitly affirms that: "the conditions for the use of the Missal established by the previous documents Quattuor abhinc annos and Ecclesia Dei adflicta have been replaced". The Motu Proprio enumerates the new conditions.
Thus, one cannot make reference to the restrictions for celebration with the 1962 Missal established by those two documents.
QUESTION: What are the substantive differences between the last Motu Proprio and the two preceding documents pertaining to this matter?
ANSWER: The first substantial difference is certainly that now it is licit to celebrate Holy Mass according to the Extraordinary Rite without any longer the need for special permission, called an "indult". The Holy Father Benedict XVI established, once and for tall, that the Roman Rite consists of two Forms, to which he desired to give the name of "Ordinary Form" (the celebration of the Novus Ordo, according to the 1970 Missal of Paul VI) and the "Extraordinary Form" (the celebration of the Gregorian Rite, according to the 1962 Missal of Bl. John XXIII) and he confirmed that this 1962 Missal was never abrogated. Another difference is that in the Mass celebrated without people, every Catholic priest of the Latin Rite, whether secular or religious, can use one or the other Missal (article 2). Moreover, in Masses without people or with people, it pertains to the pastor [parish priest] or the rector of the church where one intends to celebrate, to give the permission for all priests who present a "celebret" given by their own Ordinary. If these (pastors) should deny permission, the bishop, according to the norm of the Motu Proprio, must provide that the permission be conceded. (cf. art. 7).
That is the first part. After this, there is an exploration of the work of the Commission of Cardinals in 1986. I don’t see any purpose in reduplicating the work being done over at NLM, so I will leave that to them.
However, there are interesting things to consider in the responses above.
First, I have heard from time to time how, incredibly, critics of Summorum Pontificum have in fact tried to quote Quattuor abhinc annos and Ecclesia Dei adflicta against Pope Benedict’s prescriptions.
Second, directly in the face of those who are still claiming that the 1962MR reallywas abrogated, the Cardinal President is reminding everybody that, no, it really WASN’T.
Third, notice that the second response refers not only to the regulation of the use of the older form by pastors of churches, but also rectors. It is not stated explicitly in Summorum Pontificum that rectors also have this right, though it is reasonable to assume they do. So, are we glimpsing something of the now infamous clarification document that we have been waiting for for so long?
Fourth, notice what impact that second response would have on, say, a shrine a priest is visiting.
During my recent trip to Emmitsburg, where the Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton is located, I was told that to this day priests have been refused the right to say Mass with the 1962 Missale Romanum. There is even a sign to that effect in the sacristy at the Shrine. So… if a priest wanted to say Mass there, a reasonable request, the bishop would have to be informed that an obstacle was placed in the priest’s path. This would have to apply to pilgrimage places as well, such as Fatima, Altotting or Lourdes.